National / Crime & Legal

Japanese couple who confined their daughter rearrested over her freezing death

JIJI, Kyodo

A couple detained after the death of their 33-year-old daughter were served with fresh arrest warrants Tuesday for allegedly confining her for at least 15 years before she froze to death.

The daughter, Airi Kakimoto, had been kept in a tiny room in a house in the city of Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, since around 2002 before freezing to death while in a state of extreme malnutrition around Dec. 18 last year, the prefectural police department said.

Her father, Yasutaka, 55, and his wife, Yukari, 53, failed to take necessary steps to protect Airi, even though they were aware that she would die, police said.

Specifically, the parents failed to feed their daughter properly and give her medical care even once her condition deteriorated and she started losing weight quickly around January last year, sources involved in the investigation said.

The parents had told police investigators that Airi had been kept in the room for treatment and fed properly, according to the sources.

Previously, the parents said their daughter had been confined since she was 16 or 17 years old due to mental illness, the sources said.

The couple were first arrested on Dec. 23 after surrendering to police on suspicion of disposing of a body.

The woman stood 145 centimeters tall and weighed only 19 kilograms when her body was discovered in the unheated room. The room was locked from the outside and was being monitored with surveillance cameras.

The parents reduced the number of times she was fed to once a day from January 2016, the investigators said.

Airi was diagnosed with schizophrenia around 2001. Her parents told the investigators that they didn’t give her clothes to wear, leaving her naked. “She would complain that she was hot, and would take her clothes off, so we left her without clothes year round,” the suspects were quoted by police as saying.

The parents have denied that their act constitutes confinement, according to the police.